Follow us on social

Shutterstock_1816383494

Pence tells Israeli paper: We will tear up any new nuclear deal with Iran

Why could Tehran want to sign anything now? To have a likely '24 presidential candidate say this now is a deal killer.

Middle East

Former Vice President Mike Pence told an Israeli newspaper on Tuesday that a future Republican administration will tear up any new nuclear deal made with Iran today. Beyond all of the political bloviation, it is important to understand how Pence's statement undermines the U.S. bargaining position right now in Vienna.

“If the JCPOA finds a way to be resurrected, we will be a part and a voice of a chorus of Americans with that new administration coming into office to end the JCPOA just as quickly as we ended it under the Trump-Pence administration," he charged in Israel Hayom.

Not only would Republicans withdraw from any new agreement they would bring back President Trump’s (fundamentally counterproductive) aggressive posture against Tehran, he boasted:​​

"During our administration, it wasn't just that we got out of the JCPOA, it was that we isolated Iran like never before, we challenged their malign activities. We not only took down ISIS [the Islamic State] and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but it was our administration that took down Qassem Soleimani." He then added, "We made it clear to Iran and all of their affiliate organizations and terrorist groups across the region that the day of them sowing violence across the wider Arab world was over."

One of the biggest sticking points on behalf of the Iranian negotiators has been the inability to ensure that any future White House won’t waltz in and rip up the renewed agreement. So far they haven’t been able to get that kind of assurance, even from the Democrats who are supposedly behind getting a deal out the door. Now the GOP in the form of Mike Pence, one of the most high-profile likely candidates for president in 2024, is openly saying it will kill it. 

So what does this do?

It means that any carrots the U.S. puts forward in the talks are devalued precisely because we are explicit about their lack of durability. Therefore, Washington has to offer more to achieve the same because of this open lack of trustworthiness.

As I have written elsewhere, this has been a major challenge throughout these nuclear talks. Being unreliable does not put you in a good position to ask for a "longer and stronger" deal.

At the same time, Pence is not lying. If the GOP wins in 2024, I see only two scenarios: either Washington walks out of the deal a la Trump, or it adopts an ambiguous position in which it doesn't commit to staying and flirts with leaving. 

In the latter case, the United States injects so much uncertainty into the situation that international businesses will begin exiting the Iranian market, whether or not any sanctions are lifted from a renewed deal.  As such, uncertainty is a de facto sanction.

Not getting what it has been promised, Tehran will likely quit the deal or it will reduce its obligations, as it did from 2019 and onward. But this time around, the JCPOA would likely not be able to take that pressure without collapsing. The nuclear deal dies and with it any hope for achieving any peaceful resolution with Iran.

Naively, many in D.C. are still thinking of how to "strengthen" the deal once it is revived. But I fear that very few have internalized how weak the Western bargaining position is: One can't ask for more when one simultaneously admits that no American promise can be kept longer than four years.

Then-VP Mike Pence in 2020. (Shutterstock/Noamgalai)
Middle East
That stinks: Global opinion of US goes down the toilet

Vilnius, Lithuania. 12th July 2023. Joe Biden, President of United States of America. Nato Summit 2023. (ArChe1993 / shutterstock)

That stinks: Global opinion of US goes down the toilet

Global Crises

Dragged down in important part by disapproval over the U.S. position on the Gaza war, the popular image of the United States abroad has declined over the past year, according to a new poll of public opinion in 34 countries released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

The survey, the latest in an annual series that dates back more than two decades, also found that international confidence in U.S. democracy has fallen. A median of four in ten of the more than 40,000 respondents said U.S. democracy used to be a good model for other countries to follow but no longer is. That view was most pronounced in the ten European countries covered by the poll.

keep readingShow less
Washington is not telling truth about the Gaza pier

A satellite image shows a view of the remaining section of the trident pier, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, on the Gaza shoreline, May 29, 2024. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Washington is not telling truth about the Gaza pier

Middle East

The Biden administration wants you to believe the U.S. is leading international efforts to get humanitarian relief into Gaza and that supplies are “flowing to Palestinians” via the military’s pier operation there.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder announced that to date,1,573 tons of aid had been delivered from the pier to the beach, including 492 tons since it reopened on Saturday after some bad weather knocked it out of commission last month.

keep readingShow less
US lifts ban on Neo-Nazi linked Azov Brigade in Ukraine

The Idea of the Nation symbol used by the 12th Azov Assault Brigade of Ukraines National Guard is pictured during a rally held in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the units foundation, Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on May 05, 2024. Photo by Dmytro Smolienko/Ukrinform/ABACAPRESS.COM

US lifts ban on Neo-Nazi linked Azov Brigade in Ukraine

QiOSK

The State Department announced that it has lifted its ban on the use of American weapons by the notorious Azov Brigade in Ukraine, an ultra-nationalist outfit widely described as “neo-fascist," even "neo-Nazi."

The group was initially formed in 2014 as a volunteer militia to fight against Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists in the eastern Donbas region, and later incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine, under the purview of the Interior Ministry.

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest